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October 13th, 2019

Book 17 - 2017

Book 17: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – 402 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Mother of three and wife of John-Paul, Cecilia discovers an old envelope in the attic. Written in her husband's hand, it says: to be opened only in the event of my death.
Curious, she opens it - and time stops.
John-Paul's letter confesses to a terrible mistake which, if revealed, would wreck their family as well as the lives of others.
Cecilia wants to do the right thing, but right for who?
If she protects her family by staying silent, the truth will worm through her heart. But if she reveals her husband's secret, she will hurt those she loves most . . .


Thoughts:
I loved Moriarty when I first discovered her a few years ago - an Australian writer writing decent, interesting novels that aren’t about the outback, or spend the entire time reminding you you’re in Australia, but still feel familiar for me in the right way - and I read everything she’d written at the time. I promptly forgot about her, and then rediscovered her when Big Little Lies came out. I decided I’d tackle another of her books after reading Big Little Lies. The ending in this one killed me - the idea of the child paying for the sins of the father, the future that was never to be, I almost cried. Cecilia discovers something about her husband she never could have expected, her husband suffers for a mistake barely his fault for most of his adult life, a mother wants revenge and a little girl pays. It’s an excellent novel, made real and honest and funny by Moriarty’s excellent story telling abilities. The story is set around Easter, and the beautiful juxtaposition of resurrection, the autumnal themes that surround that time here in Australia (I’ve seen reviews complain about this, noting that Easter is in Spring…if you’re in the other hemisphere!!!), work beautifully. It’s heartbreaking, but its an excellent book.


17 / 50 books. 34% done!


7764 / 15000 pages. 52% done!

Currently reading:
- Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women who helped win the Space Race
by Margot Lee Shetterly – 328 pages
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
by Ashlee Vance – 434 pages
- Without Remorse
by Tom Clancy – 750 pages

And coming up:
- The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder
by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
- The Odyssey
by Homer – 324 pages
- The Unfu*kwithable Life: 7 Codes to Embrace Connection & Vulnerability For a Life of Inspiration & Freedom
by Amber Hawken – 285 pages

Book 18 - 2017

Book 18: Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women who helped win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly – 328 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Set amid the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA's African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America's space program.
Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as `Human Computers', calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts, these `colored computers' used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
Moving from World War II through NASA's golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women's rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of mankind's greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world.


Thoughts:
I can’t remember if I read this book before or after I saw the film, but my reading lined up with the press around the film, and the increased focus on the numerous black women (well, women in general) involved with the space program. The book is not quite as engaging as the film, reading more along the lines of a standard non-fiction, but it provides a wonderful overview of the era, as well as the details of a number of the women’s lives (including the three famous ladies featured in the film). The race relations issues in the United States still baffle me to certain extent, and discussions around limiting the career opportunities of otherwise smart, ambitious people merely due to the colour of their skin will never not be weird to me. This book did a great job of outlining these issues without necessarily feeling angry (though of course, it would have every right to be, but it would take something away from just telling these women’s amazing stories). The hoops these women had to jump through were extraordinary, but they were obviously up to the task. If only, now in times somewhat improved, we could muster as much of the general public’s enthusiasm for the space program as we had back then.


18 / 50 books. 36% done!


8092 / 15000 pages. 54% done!

Currently reading:
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
by Ashlee Vance – 434 pages
- Without Remorse
by Tom Clancy – 750 pages
- The Unfu*kwithable Life: 7 Codes to Embrace Connection & Vulnerability For a Life of Inspiration & Freedom
by Amber Hawken – 285 pages

And coming up:
- The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder
by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
- The Odyssey
by Homer – 324 pages
- Ten Big Ones
by Janet Evanovich – 312 pages

Book 19 - 2017

Book 19: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance – 434 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
South African born Elon Musk is the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. Musk wants to save our planet; he wants to send citizens into space, to form a colony on Mars; he wants to make money while doing these things; and he wants us all to know about it. He is the real-life inspiration for the Iron Man series of films starring Robert Downey Junior.
The personal tale of Musk's life comes with all the trappings one associates with a great, drama-filled story. He was a freakishly bright kid who was bullied brutally at school, and abused by his father. In the midst of these rough conditions, and the violence of apartheid South Africa, Musk still thrived academically and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he paid his own way through school by turning his house into a club and throwing massive parties.
He started a pair of huge dot-com successes, including PayPal, which eBay acquired for $1.5 billion in 2002. Musk was forced out as CEO and so began his lost years in which he decided to go it alone and baffled friends by investing his fortune in rockets and electric cars. Meanwhile Musk's marriage disintegrated as his technological obsessions took over his life ...
Elon Musk is the Steve Jobs of the present and the future, and for the past twelve months, he has been shadowed by tech reporter, Ashlee Vance. Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of Spacex and Tesla is Shaping our Future is an important, exciting and intelligent account of the real-life Iron Man.


Thoughts:
I’m a huge fan of Musk - to me he’s the real life version of Iron Man: positively crazy but a total genius, prone to saying things he shouldn’t but undoubtedly with the best of intentions. A Tesla is my dream car, I have legitimately looked into putting a solar powered battery in my house, and as a space nerd, what SpaceX is doing for the industry gets me super excited. So reading this book about Musk’s life was a total pleasure. Vance has done a fabulous job bringing together Musk’s story, capturing how Musk came to be the man he is, craziness and all. Moreover, Vance breaks down Musk’s rationale for the work he does, the speed and insanity levels with which he does it, and Musk’s plans for the future. And it all makes perfect sense when that clarity is applied over the top of Musk’s eccentric public persona, ultimately redeeming him. Overall, this was a very enjoyable read that validated my fascination with Musk. Highly recommended!


19 / 50 books. 38% done!


8526 / 15000 pages. 57% done!

Currently reading:
- Without Remorse
by Tom Clancy – 750 pages
- The Unfu*kwithable Life: 7 Codes to Embrace Connection & Vulnerability For a Life of Inspiration & Freedom
by Amber Hawken – 285 pages
- Ten Big Ones
by Janet Evanovich – 312 pages

And coming up:
- The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder
by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
- The Odyssey
by Homer – 324 pages
- Sun, Moon, Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets
by Tyler Nordgren – 226 pages

Book 20 - 2017

Book 20: The Unfu*kwithable Life: 7 Codes to Embrace Connection & Vulnerability For a Life of Inspiration & Freedom by Amber Hawken – 285 pages

Description from Goodreads.com:
The Unfu*kwithable Life encompasses seven codes, each containing punchy lessons to reveal the power of vulnerability to enhance your existence. It gives you the tools to live a remarkable life, with fierce determination, inner peace, and strength while streamlining comprehensive concepts into simple actions steps and heart-warming wisdom. As you connect with yourself, you will be empowered mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Using the paradox of crude wit and compassion, this book forces you to become uncomfortably honest with yourself, then gently guides you to a place where you can shatter the limits you’ve been clinging to for comfort. It’s designed to teach the greatest lessons of self mastery and spiritual philosophy, through humour and straight shooting advice. It will trigger a force deep inside of you, that’s here for a spectacular reason.
Whether you are a seasoned personal development addict or you prefer not to venture into 'self help-woo-woo-crap', The Unfu*kwithable Life, will provoke you to think much more deeply and profoundly about how you define yourself, happiness and success and ultimately challenge you to access your highest level of fulfillment.


Thoughts:
I probably knew 95% of this (though maybe not quite in the hokey way that Amber describes it) and I probably practice 75-80% of it, but I think it would be a good read for anyone who wants/needs to develop their self-awareness. Amber's writing style wasn't really for me, and I think this book is self-published because it was evident that a good edit is required, but for the right type of person it could be a very valuable book. I've got a few friends I wouldn't mind getting copies for, though they'd probably be insulted that I thought they needed the guidance!


20 / 50 books. 40% done!


8814 / 15000 pages. 59% done!

Currently reading:
- Without Remorse
by Tom Clancy – 750 pages
- Ten Big Ones
by Janet Evanovich – 312 pages
- Sun, Moon, Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets
by Tyler Nordgren – 226 pages

And coming up:
- The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder
by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
- The Odyssey
by Homer – 324 pages
- A Natural History of the Senses
by Diane Ackerman – 315 pages

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